The Daily Agenda for Monday, July 1
July 1st, 2013
Marriage Equality Arrives in Delaware. Delaware State Senator Karen Peterson, sponsor of the marriage equality bill which was signed into law last May, will exchange vows with her partner of 24 years, Victoria Bandy, in Wilmington this morning at 8:30 a.m. EDT, making them the first married same-sex couple in Delaware history. “It just validates our relationship, and that’s the most important part of it: In the eyes of society, it gets validated,” said Peterson.
That same legislation will also allow Delaware’s same-sex couples who have entered into civil unions to convert them into full marriages. When the U.S. Supreme Court’s striking down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act last week, it made converting to full marriage all the more attractive as it will bring with it the thousand-plus rights and responsibilities provided under Federal law to married couples. Technically speaking, that’s exactly what Bandy and Peterson will be doing this morning. New Castle County Clerk of the Peace Ken Boulden says his office spent the weekend preparing for the anticipated rush. “It’s gonna be historic,” said Boulden. “There are going to be over 700 couples that have had civil unions in the last 18 months that are going to be starting the conversion process from civil unions to marriage and there will be a large number of couples coming in to get their marriage license.”
Delaware is the tenth state, in addition to the District of Columbia, to provide marriage equality for its same-sex couples. Rhode Island and Minnesota will join the ranks on August 1.
THIS MONTH IN HISTORY:
55 YEARS AGO: A Day at the Beach: 1958. In 2013, record-breaking temperatures are being recorded all across the western United States. Here in Tucson, we have just closed out the month of June with all thirty days recording temperatures in triple digits, the first time that’s happened in recorded history. And there’s no break in sight, probably, until September. Naturally, thoughts turn to any patch of water — a Slip’N’Slide, a back yard pool, or, if you’re really lucky, a day at the beach.
Fifty-five years ago this month, ONE magazine took its readers along for a day at an unnamed gay beach in greater Los Angeles, which was one of the rare places where gay people could congregate and let their guard down:
I hadn’t gone near a gay beach for years when Marty and I drove out last summer to one of California’s most famous. It was a long pleasant drive out the Boulevard and it seemed that quite a few others were going our way — a red convertible with two sun-baked blonds; two sporty lesbians in an MG; a carload of screaming queens . . . .
…Marty, who idealized homosexuals en masse much as intellectuals used to get dewy-eyed about the toiling masses, was aw~struck at the sight, though it was familiar to him. “Look at that!” he said with a sweep of his bronzed arm. “Doesn’t the sight of that crowd thrill you? Right out in the open, hundreds of our people, peacefully enjoying themselves in public, no closed doors, no dim lights, no pretense.
“I often lie awake nights wondering how long it’ll take our group to become aware of itself — its strength and its rights. But I hardly ever appreciate just how many of us there really are except when I come here. Except for a few minutes on the Boulevard after the bars close, this is the only place where we ever ‘form a crowd,’ and there’s something exciting about seeing homosexuals as a crowd. I con’t explain how it stirs me. but I think beaches like this are a part of our liberation.”
Jim Kepner, writing as “Frank Golovitz,” introduced ONE’s readers to some of the people at the beach that day, including Joe and Jim, “a look-alike, dress-alike couple… Happily married (seven years)” and “devout Mormons.” They never went to gay bars, and saw the beach as the one of the few “respectable places to meet other nice homosexuals.” Paul and Terry, two young engineers, were “busily directing the construction of the most elaborate sand castle I’d ever seen.” Jo Anne and Virginia were there with Jo Anne’s two kids they were raising together. Kepner later ran into Barry, Jo Ann’s ex-husband “of convenience,” who was “also a mine of assorted gossip.” He also met Ronnie Chase, “an angel-faced willowy young bank clerk” who defended their place in the sun when a straight couple showed up complaining about “damned queers taking over the place.”
“Well, go somewhere else if you don’t want to be contaminated,” he howled. “You’ve got fifty miles of beach around here and this is all we’ve got. So disappear !”
His antagonist managed one parting shot, unprintably suggesting that all homosexuals should be locked up and castrated.
Ronnie boiled all afternoon. “Did we hurt them? We don’t say anything about the way they behave on the beach. But just let one queen raise the pitch of her voice and it’s a public scandal!”
I suggested that he’d offended them — hardly good public relations.
“I offended them? They offended us. Why always put the blame on this side? They started it. We weren’t doing anything to spoil their day, except existing. Let them go somewhere else. This is our beach. It’s small and crowded, but it’s ours.”
[Source: Frank Golovitz (Jim Kepner). “Gay Beach.” ONE 6, no. 7 (July 1958): 5-10. Kepner joined ONE magazine in 1952 and wrote under a half-dozen pseudonyms in addition to his own name in order to lend the appearance that ONE’s staff was larger than it actually was.]
Farley Granger: 1925: Despite being one of the best-looking and well-regarded men in Hollywood, Granger didn’t have the kind of prolific a film career one might expect. He is best known for his role in Alfred Hitchcock’s Rope and Strangers on a Train and for Luchino Visconti’s Senso. In Rope, Granger played a murderer and (implied) lover of an accomplice in a story inspired by the Loeb and Leopold murder.
In real life, Granger enjoyed the attentions of men, and women. According to his 2007 autobiography Include Me Out, he had affairs with Patricia Neal, Arthur Laurents, Shelly Winters, Leonard Bernstein, Barbara Stanwick and Ava Gardner. As for dealing with “liberal” Hollywood’s deeply-entrenched homophobia:
I found it difficult to answer questions about “gay life in Hollywood when I was living and working there. …I was never ashamed, and I never felt the need to explain or apologize for my relationships with anyone. I had many gay friends, but more of my friends were straight and most were married with families. The ratio of my gay to straight friends was probably in direct proportion to that of gay and straight people in general. I have loved men. I have loved women.”
Granger insisted he was never closeted, and he also resisted labeling himself:
Men or women?
“That really depends on the person,” he said impishly. But his follow-up comment left little doubt: “I’ve lived the greater part of my life with a man” — he has been with (Robert) Calhoun in New York since the 1960s — “so obviously that’s the most satisfying to me.”
In the late 1950s, Granger left Hollywood and moved to New York City, where he launched a second career on Broadway. Granger died in 2011 of natural causes in New York at the age of 85.
Fred Schneider: 1951. The B-52s front man is probably America’s best known practitioner of sprechgesang. (The Free Dictionary: “a type of vocalization between singing and recitation … originated by Arnold Schoenberg, who used it in Pierrot Lunaire (1912)”) The group’s guy-and-gals call-and-response between Schneider and Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson have become a trademark ever since “Rock Lobster” hit the charts in 1978. That sound defined the B-52s as the quintessential party band, inviting everyone to pile into the Chrysler as big as a whale. Schneider was coy about his sexuality throughout the 1980s and most of the 1990s, but his reluctance appeared to be more a matter of annoyance than fear. “I’m on the same side the fence as k.d., Elton and Frederick the Great. I just don’t like to share my personal life with the public.” Of course, there wasn’t much sharing needed. His own mother’s reaction when he came out to her probably sums it up for everyone else. “Oh I know, Freddie,” she said, and continued vacuuming without missing a beat.
Roddy Bottum: 1963. The keyboardist for Faith No More since 1982, Bottum came out as gay in 1993 the year after his father died. It’s easy to imagine that his revelation would have come as quite a shock to the hyper-hetero world of heavy metal, but Bottum described it as “a positive and uplifting experience. I guess I expected some of the fans to burn crosses or throw panties at me, but nothing like that ever happened.” One of his hits with Faith No More was “Be Aggressive,” from their 1992 album Angel Dust. The homoerotic song was about oral sex. “It was a pretty fun thing to write, knowing that (lead singer Mike Patton) was going to have to put himself on the line and go up onstage and sing these vocals.” Bottum’s openness about his sexuality didn’t exactly open the floodgates for other heavy metal rockers to come out. “You’d think there’d be a lot more homosexuality in metal with all the dressing up,” he told The Advocate in 1999. By then he had left Faith No More — and metal — to form the indie boy/girl group Imperial Teen. Since 2005, Bottum has written scores for more than a dozen movies and television shows.
If you know of something that belongs on the agenda, please send it here. Don’t forget to include the basics: who, what, when, where, and URL (if available).
And feel free to consider this your open thread for the day. What’s happening in your world?